Why (I think) You Should Quit Smoking

 A intervention letter to my friend.


Please stop smoking because there IS a better use for your time. Once you stop, I bet you’ll start using those supposedly-smoking times on better things. Imagine: If, on average, you smoke 6 sticks a day, each stick lasting 10 minutes. That’s an hour in your life. 60 minutes may be a lot or it may be a little, but it still 3600 seconds that can be spent on better things other than smoking.

Please stop smoking because it affects us too. It affects people around you who love and care for you. Second-hand smoking is just as bad as first-hand smoking [1] and I seriously don’t want all of us to die early of lung cancer. I’d much rather prefer us to sit in a retirement home until we’re old and senile. And, even if you don’t smoke right in front of us, please realise that smoke sticks to your clothes and it’s passed to us whenever you hug (or kiss) us. It may even affect your future baby. Apparently, a smoking father (even before conception) increases the risk of misconception, genetic damage and stillbirth [2].

Please stop smoking because it induces people with an affinity to smoke to smoke too. Honestly, the power of social smoking is vastly underrated. If you’re going to influence another person’s life, don’t you want it to be a positive influence instead?

Please stop smoking because it veils the light you have inside you. Contrary to what you may imagine, no. It does not give you a dramatic entrance. In fact, it’s like those yellow tapes around a crime scene. Smoke stench, in general, screams “Keep out. Don’t come within 3 meters of this man.” And I really don’t want that sign hanging around my friend’s neck. There’s warmth in you that people will be fortunate feel, if only they can step in.

Please stop now because, well, there is no other time. If not now, then when? Five years from now? When you’re 40? When you have a baby? I don’t think we should count on the fact that your sperm is growing in woman’s body to be the turning point of your addiction. I don’t even know if you’ll read the “start reading to stop smoking” book your best friend gave you.  If you’re smoking to ease your burdens, then when will you ever stop? If you feel that you have big problems now, what about when you have even bigger problems in the future?

Yes, it’s difficult to quit because it’s always just there; Omnipotent and omnipresent. I know it’s the best company to have especially for times when you just want some quiet time to think or when you need to muster some strength.  It does not talk, whine or rebut. For good times or bad, it’s just within arm’s length. But, the good news, my friend, is that a good friend can offer all those too: a non-judgmental stand, a shoulder to lean on, a quiet company. And, your hand phone is just within arm’s length too. So, when you hear Mr Ciggy and its tempting call, why don’t you grab your phone and call a friend instead?

Yes, it’s difficult to quit because it has nicotine. You’ll crave for it. You’ll be moody. You’ll feel lethargic. You may fall ill. You may have dry cough, running nose and severe cold infections. You may even have constipation, diarrhoea and stomach pains [3]. You’ll have difficulty concentrating.  It may even change the way you perceive things and make decisions. But instead of letting Mr Nicotine drive your energy, thoughts and actions, why don’t you listen to Mr Subconscious who whispers “Quit it. I don’t want to live like this anymore” whenever you wake up smelling like a half-rate casino.

Yes, it’s difficult to quit. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as putting off the fire at the end of one stick. But, my dear friend, no one says it’s impossible. Please stop smoking because you know you should and you know you want to and, seriously, there is no better time than to quit today.

….Afterall, you are now 23.